Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Disney's Hollywood Studios 25th Anniversary Cupcakes From Scratch!

Back in May, it was Hollywood Studios' 25th Anniversary (that park at Disney World in Florida that used to be called MGM) and the parks had a special cupcake for the occasion.  I believe it is very rare that they share a recipe, but on Disney's official blog, share it they did!  So here it is for you, and if you take it upon yourself to make, this is how it will most likely be!

This is my first recipe using coffee, so Jim & I went to Fairway Market and bought some Italian roast.

If you've never been to a Fairway, you should know they have a great coffee selection--barrels of beans, a nice person stationed there to answer your questions and make suggestions, and a grinder with all sorts of different options (I don't know much about coffee, so Jim helped out with this one.  I'm more of a tea and hot chocolate girl).

We brewed it in a Keurig single cup, and added it to the usual suspects (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder & soda), which was this (before the coffee):

Then we added the coffee and vegetable oil.

and stirred it all up:

Then we added the eggs and I had to pick some shell out…

Jim handled mixing duties:

He also suggested pouring the batter into a spouted container (which I've been recommended to do before, but never tried).  I don't know where any pitchers are in the house, so we used this measuring cup. 

Ummm it ended up being the best idea ever.  Not only was there no stringy-batter mess across both tins, but each cupcake mold was filled quickly and uniformly.  I felt like I could work in a cupcake factory.

There you go, little ones!  See you in 25-30 minutes!

Meanwhile, we worked on the hazelnut-chocolate buttercream icing!

Which was mostly Crisco!  (I've never used Crisco in my baking and was a little hesitant to use it, but at least all the components are "vegetable."  I remember once I was at McDonald's and saw them adding a huge white block of something to the fryer, like a giant rectangle of ice, and that's when I first learned what shortening was, and stayed away from McDonald's for some time after that.)

But this is dessert and you can't care about things like that when you're eating cupcakes.

Fortunately, this was also a huge component:

I'll never understand all the Nutella-haters out there.  The only problem was the claim that it was a "healthy breakfast food."  Obviously it is not, but it's not going to destroy your life.  What if we said butter was a healthy breakfast food?  Well, it's not, but you still spread it on your toast!

So there you go, Crisco and hazelnut spread.  Mmmmm.  Of course there was also butter, vanilla, confectioner's sugar, and a couple spoons of milk.  Mix it all up!

Hey, cupcakes!  How are you doing?

Well they actually formed these coffee-bean shapes right in their centers, which freaked me out a little bit because there were no full or half beans in there.. Just the universe being awesome I guess.  They still needed some time before they were ready to come out.

So Jim loaded up my icing gun, right to the top, and when the cupcakes were ready, we began icing them!

It was really great because loading up the gun is the hardest part for me (besides cleaning it, of course, which I still haven't done).  I was glad to have Jim filling it every time I had emptied it!

Look at all them cupcakes!

This was my first time using this tip (heck if I know what it's called, but it made big, ribbony swirls.. Maybe a "number 5").  It was super easy to make them look awesome and fancy and bake-shop-y!

I felt like a pro!

And about 3-4 icing gun refills later, all the cupcakes were frosted, and there was still a TON of icing left.  We may make a cake just to use this delicious icing.  

The cupcakes themselves were surprisingly heavy--I think the cake part was so dense, but the icing was, too.  It was a wonderful combination of flavors!

In case you're curious, here's what it looks like with a bite or two taken out of it:

Then, just for fun, I google-image-searched the 25th anniversary logo from Hollywood Studios, printed it and cut it out in the shape of the logo they stuck into their cupcakes:

I taped it to a toothpick and put it in just one, and coated it in my own Minnie's Bake Shop Mickey-shaped sprinkles:

Et voila!  Your Park-certified Hollywood Studios 25th Anniversary Cupcake!  Thanks for posting the recipe, Disney Blog!  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mrs. Potts Cookies!

My friend Katherine recently returned from a trip to London, where she found these adorable teapot cookie cutters to bring back for me!  So I of course decided to make Mrs. Potts cookies!!

I don't know about you, but when I make sugar cookies, it's always a huge mess:

Yikes!  But they all came out clean:

I used a sugar cookie recipe handwritten by my mom which I found in a cookbook in our dining room. So I don't know where it's from originally!  I looked up a hard icing recipe from allrecipes.com which worked out veeeery nicely!!  The almond extract really made it tasty, and the consistency was perfect for spreading on my cookies!  Especially when I didn't have any fancy cookie-decorating tools, and decided to use my offset spatula (that I use for my cupcakes). 

Then I added some color:

Purple and yellow, and some pearl sprinkles to make her fancy!

I didn't know what to do about the faces… I'm so used to using candy bits and sprinkles for cupcake decorating!  I had just purchased a nail art kit from CVS that came with a nail art brush, which is real small and thin, and since I hadn't opened it yet, it was clean enough to use on these!  I dipped it in a drop of food coloring for the eyes and mouth!

Hey little guy!

Here they are on a doily: 

I made some variations, like closed eyes and gold sprinkles on the handle:

I put one of my best Mrs. Potts on 2 of my fancy schmancy tea saucers for a fancy photo!

It was a lot of work, making everything from scratch, but I was so happy with the results, and they tasted delicious!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Psych Pineapple Cupcakes!

My favorite TV show, Psych, had its series finale last night on USA.  Jim & I watched (well, I re-watched) the entire series in the last 3-4 months and happened to catch the last episode we needed to be caught up literally JUST IN TIME for the finale.  In fact, I think we missed a couple seconds of the beginning of the finale!!  It was that close.

As any true Psych-o would be, I was super into celebrating the last episode.  I painted my nails like pineapples (the show's running gag for those of you who aren't "psych-o"), made pineapple earrings (available in my etsy shop, Have A Nice Clay and pictured below), wore my lime-green sweater (the "Psych" logo color),  taught myself Gus's "Jamaican Inspector-Man" song on ukulele (from Psych: The Musical), and made pineapple (hummingbird) cupcakes.

Now let's get down to cupcake business!

The first part of the batter made a pretty pattern as I spatula'd it down.  This is just the basic flour, sugar, baking soda mix.  At some point there was also cinnamon, eggs, vanilla… But let's not get particular.

Hummingbird cupcake batter (at least in the Martha Stewart recipe) calls for crushed pineapple (the reason I chose it for Psych), shredded coconut, chopped walnuts and mashed banana (check out all those fun adjectives!  crushed, shredded, chopped and mashed! watch out, onlookers!).  Now, I have a few loved ones who do not like coconut (but I love them anyway)--my boyfriend Jim, and my dad.  Since I was making these as a surprise for Jim (and a treat for me), I realized maybe he wouldn't love a surprise involving coconut.  So as you can see in the above photo, I split the base batter in 2.  In one half I mixed all the fruity nut things, and in the other I left out the coconut. 

Crushed pineapple: 79 cents at Stop & Shop!

Coconut, pineapple, walnut, banana goodness.  Now, I'd made cupcakes for my friend Kelly's baby shower years ago, and I still had these cupcake liners left over:

They are very specific, so I can't use them for work functions or parties unless I want people to think I'm stealthily notifying them of a personal situation.  I used them for these cupcakes mostly because they are the only liners I have that have any green to them (the side, which I realize I didn't get a photo of, has a green stripe in the middle, along with white and pink).  Then I realized they DO have something to do with Psych--a couple episodes before the finale, Lassiter has a baby girl!  Hooray!  Here they are, ready to go!

If you're making hummingbird cupcakes, watch out--the batter is really tasty!  

As an aside right here, I just wanted to show off my footwear for baking.  I sprained my ankle last week & have to wear this "boot" for 2 weeks.  Wearing a heel on my other foot made it much easier to get around.  And here is my adorable apron that Jim got me :)

Anyway the kitchen smelled amazing.  I labeled which plate had coconut cupcakes on it and which had no coconut.  Then I went to bed.  The next day I put cream cheese frosting on all of them:

Then I broke out the icing gun Jim got me for my birthday!

Or should I call it a "decorating tool?"  Anyway the box is super colorful and has examples of all the kinds of decorations you can do with the assorted tips it comes with (there's even one for FILLING a cupcake with icing! Mmmm):

It was wonderful to use!  Simple to fill (I just spatula'd in all the icing and screwed the tip back on), precise handling, you control the speed, and it's easy to clean for a quick color-change too!  I used green to make the pineapple stems first, with the thinnest tip so it came out in thin lines.

Then I made dots of yellow with a thicker star tip for the spiky exterior of our friend the pineapple.

I'm super happy with how they came out!!  This icing tool is awesome!!  And my design actually looks like a pineapple!  :)

I experimented with different stems:

I only really needed a couple cupcakes.  The recipe called for 40.  FORTY!  I halved the ingredients to make 20 (it actually yielded 18) and then packed 4 in one of these adorable cupcake boxes I got from AC Moore:

Perfect for our Psych viewing party for 2!  Coconut on the left, no coconut on the right, and pineapple in ALL!  I thought the finale was PERFECT.  Plus, during the after party show, they featured a clip of ME playing ukulele to their theme song (it was a collection of clips of fans singing the theme song, and they used mine for the end of the song)!  It was an exhilarating moment!!  You can see my rendition here!